About Heifer International

Get answers to frequently asked questions about Heifer International

What is Heifer's Mission? How does Heifer accomplish it?

The mission of Heifer International is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Heifer does this by providing appropriate livestock, training and related services to small-scale farmers and communities worldwide.

You can explore our history and discover our work around the world.

Is Heifer exempt from federal taxes?

Yes. Heifer International is exempt from federal income tax under 26 U.S.C. Section 501(c)(3), and is a non-profit organization eligible to receive tax-deductible donations. Each donation to Heifer is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law, and represents a contribution to its entire mission — which is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.

What is Heifer's tax identification number?

Our Tax ID number is 35-1019477.

What are "Heifer Cornerstones?"

Our 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, or "Cornerstones", are a set of essential principles that guide Heifer's work. Together, they form the acronym PASSING GIFTS, representing the quintessential Cornerstone and trademark practice that makes Heifer unique and its projects sustainable.

What do you mean by "Passing on the Gift?"

Our Cornerstone of Passing on the Gift® assures that each participant in the program becomes a donor and gives the animal's offspring to another family in need. This concept helps build community and enhances dignity and participation in each project. The families continually give to others ensuring self-sufficiency, one family at a time.

Heifer's key concept is that each recipient must pass on to others some of the offspring of the farm animals they receive. This practice ensures that each participant in the program becomes a donor, enhancing dignity and participation in each project. Passing on the Gift also helps communities to become self-sustaining.

Does Heifer address gender issues?

Heifer's Gender Equity program seeks to ensure that men and women are equal partners in planning, work and benefits of a project. In many countries, women care for animals kept near the home but often have little access to technical training, resources, credit and decision-making. When women are able to receive animals and training, family nutrition improves and women gain new respect in their communities.

What is "agroecology"? Does Heifer practice it?

Agroecology is the sustainable use and management of natural resources, accomplished by using social, cultural, economic, political and ecological methods that work together to achieve sustainable agriculture production. Heifer International is working within an integrated system of plant and animal production practices to satisfy human food needs, enhance environmental quality and natural resources and make the most of on-farm and renewable resources.

What does Heifer do to support the environment?

No matter where Heifer International is working around the globe, we find a biodiversity made up of people, wildlife, plants and habitats. As all are interrelated and woven tightly together, we must respect the needs and capabilities of each of these pieces in order to keep the ecosystem healthy. Heifer International's focus on environmental issues, therefore, is not just an ethical position but also a practical necessity. Some examples of how we confront this reality:

Heifer strives to excel in its role of good steward, not only of each other, but also of the Earth that we share.

Does Heifer have any particular political affiliation?

No. Heifer International does not take political stands, but we do agree with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and support justice for all people.

How can I find out financial information about Heifer?

Detailed information on Heifer's finances is available in the Financial Information section of this website. You may also view how Heifer meets Give.org's BBB Wise Giving Alliance 20 Standards for Charity Accountability by accessing their current report.

What is the difference between Heifer International and Heifer Foundation?

Heifer International and Heifer Foundation are separate non-profit charitable organizations with distinct purposes; however, both exist to serve the mission to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.

Heifer International performs the day-to-day work of implementing projects and programs by providing appropriate livestock, training and related services to small-scale farmers and communities worldwide. Heifer International fundraises to provide the annual budget which provides for the immediate needs of the organization and mission.

Heifer Foundation's purpose is to build an endowment to generate long-term support for the work of Heifer International in perpetuity and to educate people on how planned charitable giving supports Heifer International's work. This education includes a variety of planned charitable giving instruments, such as endowments, annuities, trusts and more.

Both organizations work closely together to support a common mission while meeting the unique individual needs of donors.

How does Heifer's spending on administrative costs compare with that of similar groups?

The independent evaluator Charity Navigator obtains information on charities from the IRS Form 990 which we file with the federal government. Charity Navigator uses a uniform rating system for all charities, applying formulas to numbers derived from Form 990. They look at two primary categories: organizational efficiency and organizational capacity. View Charity Navigator's evaluation of Heifer International.

Heifer meets Give.org's BBB Wise Giving Alliance 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. View their current report on Heifer International.

Please be assured that Heifer International takes the stewardship of resources entrusted to us by donors seriously. We are committed to our mission of ending hunger and poverty and caring for the Earth and we know that you share that commitment. If you have concerns or further questions about our finances, we will be glad to talk to you about them. Please email info@heifer.org for general inquiries.

Where in the world does Heifer carry out its project work?

Our staff currently provide valuable support and assistance for project partners all over the world.

We have featured country projects that you can donate directly to located at Fund a Project. If you need further information call us at 855 9HUNGER (855.948.6437) or email info@heifer.org.

Does Heifer have projects in the U.S.?

Yes. The work of Heifer USA is centered on building and reviving local food systems so that farmers and families in the South, one of the poorest regions in the USA, are making a difference in their own lives and the lives of their neighbors.

The power of Heifer USA lies in the belief that small-scale farmers can feed the world and revive their local economies using the impact of locally produced food. We are empowering food entrepreneurs and building food enterprises to address every link in the food value chain—from farm to table.

Can Heifer articles be reprinted?

Yes, provided the intent of the reprinting is to promote Heifer and its mission. You may reprint articles from World Ark magazine, Heifer's website or any other Heifer printed materials. Please appropriately recognize Heifer with the following publication credit:

"Reprinted with permission from Heifer International - www.heifer.org."

For any other use of Heifer articles other than to promote Heifer International, please contact us at info@heifer.org

Can I get copies of brochures or pamphlets that explain Heifer's mission and purpose?

Yes, if you are in the United States, you can request Heifer International materials be sent to you by emailing us at info@heifer.org or calling us at 855 9HUNGER (855.948.6437).

Do you have opportunities for organizations to partner with Heifer?

Yes. Our partnerships with governments, corporations, private organizations, nonprofit coalitions and other networks enable us to find effective solutions with substantial impact. Whenever we work hand-in-hand with these partners, we create sustainable paths out of poverty for populations who would otherwise be left behind.

There are three ways you can partner with us:

In what countries does Heifer currently have projects?

We currently work in many countries around the world. Learn about the transformation across the globe and our programs.

How are Heifer Project Partners selected?

With sustainable community development in mind, we fund projects that have been approved by committee and that meet specific guidelines as described in an information-gathering packet. There must be a solid commitment by the group to ensure all project members will work together for the benefit of the project. The group also enters into an agreement to "Pass on the Gift" — each recipient of an animal will give the first female offspring of that animal to another family so as to allow others in the community to benefit from the original gift.

How would my group or I apply for Heifer assistance?

Heifer's publication, "Becoming an International Partner," will be beneficial to your group, as it lists step-by-step procedures for applying for a project with Heifer International. You may request a copy by calling 855 9HUNGER (855.948.6437).

The group's initial application needs to be made with the local Heifer office. Applications emailed to info@heifer.org will be referred to the group's local country office.

Heifer does not accept requests from individuals.

How are Heifer projects started?

To start, project groups contact their local country office expressing interest in becoming Project Partners. After this initial contact, Country Directors make decisions on how to respond to the request based on several factors; these include the viability (strength) and location of group, stability of the area, accessibility to Heifer staff, etc.:

  • Because of limited staff in Project Countries, the group has to be reasonably close to other projects and accessible to be a feasible project site.
  • The area should be relatively stable and free from war and other dangerous situations.
  • The request needs to come from an established group committed to working together (not an individual) and the group must have interest in using livestock to improve lives.

If these requirements are met, the Country Director or local Heifer staff will conduct a site visit to ensure the group has the minimum resources needed to make their project feasible (sufficient land, access to water, etc.). After the site visit, the Country Director or local Heifer staff will assist the project group in making their Project Plan.

If approved, the group will receive appropriate training and resources to prepare for the animals before the animals are delivered. This process can take six months to two years before animals are delivered.

What sort of training is provided to project groups?

Some examples of the training we provide to project groups include: planting trees, building pens, animal husbandry/management (including animal nutrition, breeding and healthcare), record keeping and marketing. We also teach group-building skills and gender relationships. Much of the training is provided through cooperation with local extension services, community animal health workers, universities, colleges and other local organizations.

Can I visit some of your projects while on my own travel?

We welcome your interest and would like to be able to accommodate visits from people traveling on their own. However, to respect the dignity and privacy of our project participants, and in light of the limited time and resources of our field staff, we do not encourage unscheduled visits to our projects.

How can I change my preferences regarding email and other communications I get from Heifer?

You can send us an email at info@heifer.org or give us a call at 855 9HUNGER (855.948.6437).

I would like to receive your magazine, World Ark, but would prefer not to have monthly mail updates. How do I make this happen?

Please send your full name, address, phone number and e-mail address to info@heifer.org with your request. Note that changes to your mailing preferences, changes of address or removal from mailing lists require one or two mailing cycles to come into effect.

I would prefer to receive only email updates. How do I make this happen?

If you prefer to only receive email updates, please send your full name, address, phone number and e-mail address to info@heifer.org with your request. Note that changes to your mailing preferences, changes of address or removal from mailing lists require one or two mailing cycles to come into effect.

How do I remove myself from Heifer's mailing list?

If you prefer not to receive mail from Heifer, please send your full name, address, phone number and email address to info@heifer.org with your request. Please note that removal from mailing lists require one or two mailing cycles to come into effect.

How do I change my address?

Please e-mail your address changes to info@heifer.org or mail your correct address label from your Heifer publication to: 

Heifer International 
Attn: Donor Services 
P.O. Box 8058 
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203-8058 

Note that changes to your mailing preferences, changes of address or removal from mailing lists require one or two mailing cycles to come into effect.

Can I sign up for your newsletter?

Yes. Signing up for Heifer's email is one way to deepen your commitment to ending hunger and poverty. You'll learn about Heifer's work through inspiring stories, and we'll send you information on how you can empower families to move from poverty to self-reliance.

Does Heifer International offer lesson plans for my classroom?

Yes. Our global education resources are based on national educational standards for Pre-K through the 8th grade and put a new spin on courses like English, Geography, Science and others. View Heifer's school resources including free lesson plans, classroom activities, videos and games.

How can I contact Heifer?


Phone: 855.9HUNGER (855.948.6437)
Email: info@heifer.org
Mailing Address:
Heifer International
1 World Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72202

I'm with the media. Who should I contact at Heifer for questions and information?

Members of the media should refer to the For the Press section of this website for current contact information for our public relations team.